Squawka NFL

All-Squawka NFL Team: Offense

By Tayyib Abu

Published: 17:00, 15 February 2022 | Updated: 9:56, 21 February 2022

With the 2021-22 NFL Season now firmly in the books – the Los Angeles Rams claiming the Vince Lombardi Trophy this past Sunday – we take a look at the best players in each position as we arrive at our All-Squawka roster.

One caveat in our team of the year, we will be only selecting one player from each team on offense, and one player from each team on defence, so obviously there will be some key names missing from the starting All-Squawka lineup – looking at you Davonte Adams, apologies.

We start with the offensive side of the ball, which includes the NFL’s MVP, Offensive Player of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year, for obvious reasons.

Quarterback – Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)

Aaron Rodgers still enjoyed a great 2021 season despite feeling disgruntled and unhappy in August. He didn’t let his frustration towards the Green Bay Packers’ hierarchy affect his on-field play; the four-time NFL MVP quarterbacked the Packers to 13 wins, another NFC North title, and top spot in the NFC. Rodgers’ mastery of the quarterback position stood out to everyone.

The California native is nearing his 40th birthday, and he is playing better than ever. The veteran signal-caller threw 37 touchdowns to four interceptions. Furthermore, Rodgers led the NFL in total QBR and topped the passer score rankings courtesy of Next Gen Stats. Mystery surrounds Rodgers’ playing destination for 2022, but no one can dispute his claim as the best quarterback in the NFL.

Running back – Jonathan Taylor (Indianapolis Colts)

In the absence of rushing king Derrick Henry, Indianapolis Colts superstar Jonathan Taylor ascended to the throne in 2021. The bruising runner amassed a mammoth 1,811 rushing yards. Taylor looked like a charging Indycar at various times as the Colts hauled themselves into contention after a tough start. Taylor’s standout performance came against the Buffalo Bills in Week 11 as he rushed for 185 yards and four touchdowns.

That frigid November day showcased Taylor’s attributes against a top team. His punishing style and superb speed and agility made him impossible to stop. Finally, Taylor led the NFL in rushing yards ‘over expected’. His 481 yards over expected was nearly double that of the second-place runner. Add all that to 18 rushing touchdowns, and Taylor was by far the best running back in the 2021 season.

Wide receiver – Cooper Kupp (Los Angeles Rams)

Julio Jones may enter the Hall of Fame one day. Calvin Johnson is already immortalised in Canton, Ohio. The common traits that these two great players share? They are in the top three for all-time receiving yards in a single season. The other player completing this triumvirate is Cooper Kupp. The former third-round pick exploded in 2021 as he won the receiving triple crown – topping the NFL in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. The 28-year old wideout dominated the league as he struck up a special relationship with new quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Moreover, Kupp’s season is good because he is the atypical wide receiver. The Eastern Washington product isn’t the classic X wideout in the mold of Johnson or Jones. Kupp’s intense competitiveness, IQ, and versatility have helped him hit new heights. Kupp is WR1 for our team.

Wide Receiver – Ja’Marr Chase (Cincinnati Bengals)

Some labelled him a bust after an iffy pre-season. Instead, Ja’Marr Chase silenced the doubters and exceeded expectations as he electrified the NFL in his debut campaign. The former LSU Tiger rejoined Joe Burrow, and the results were spectacular. Chase set the rookie record for receiving yards and bagged 13 touchdowns. His connection with Burrow helped propel the Cincinnati Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance.

The former LSU teammates led the way in deep passing plays through the regular season. Perhaps Chase’s most spectacular play occurred against the Kansas City Chiefs as Chase grabbed a short pass before accelerating away from several Chiefs defenders for a touchdown. The rookie made a big play in a big game. That touchdown kickstarted a comeback from the Bengals as they crowned themselves AFC North champions. Chase will make many all-pro teams in the future.

Slot wide receiver – Amon Ra St. Brown (Detroit Lions)

Fourth-round rookie Amon Ra St. Brown exploded into life in 2021. The initial plan from the Detroit Lions’ hierarchy for St. Brown was to let him learn from the sidelines. That plan didn’t last long as the top three receivers on the Lions’ depth chart got injured—the next-man-up mentality that permeates NFL locker rooms forced St. Brown to dive into the deep end.

The tough rookie got another lucky break when head coach Dan Campbell inserted himself as a play-caller, and assistant Ben Johnson took the reins as passing game coordinator. With those two at the helm, the Lions finished the season 3-2-1, and St. Brown played a significant role. The USC product broke Calvin Johnson’s rookie receptions and receiving records. Furthermore, St. Brown also bested Johnson’s record for consecutive games with eight or more receptions. With that production, It was no surprise that Dan Campbell described the youngster as ‘better than gold.’

Tight end – Mark Andrews (Baltimore Ravens)

Mark Andrews shattered franchise records as he surged his way to an All-Pro season. The big Baltimore Ravens tight end was the passing offense as quarterback Lamar Jackson targeted Andrews more than any other player. Andrews tallied 107 receptions for 1,361 yards. Andrews sustained the Ravens’ offense in light of a litany of injuries the Ravens experienced. Such was his performance; Andrews earned 41 of the 50 available votes for the All-Pro team.

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Left tackle – Trent Williams (San Francisco 49ers)

Trent Williams is the best left-tackle in the NFL. He is a mauler with excellent run blocking skills. Williams has surrendered one sack in his last 983 pass-blocking snaps. His Pro Football Focus (PFF) grade was 96.6, the highest for any player. Williams is a rugged destroyer in the trenches, and his presence helped the San Francisco 49ers reach the NFC Championship game. He is the premier left tackle in the NFL.

Left guard – Joel Bitonio (Cleveland Browns)

Joel Bitonio enjoyed another solid season for the Cleveland Browns. The guard allowed just two sacks all season and committed three minor penalties. Per ESPN, Bitonio finished third overall in pass-block success, and PFF graded him at 92.5 in run blocking. Bitonio is a destructive force on the interior, and he should continue to play a pivotal part for the Browns.

Center – Creed Humphrey (Kansas City Chiefs)

Second-round rookie Creed Humphrey experienced a phenomenal season. The youngster played 1,184 snaps, second overall for centers. Moreover, Humphrey gave up one sack and led all centers in pass-blocking success. Add that to a fifth-place ranking in run-blocking, and it is easy to see why the Kansas City Chiefs love the former Oklahoma Boomer Sooner.

Right Guard – Zack Martin (Dallas Cowboys)

Veteran guard Zack Martin suffered a few injury issues in 2021. Nevertheless, he still played at a high level. The seven-time first-team All-Pro player finished in the top ten in both pass-blocking and run-blocking and earned an overall PFF grade of 93.9. Martin allowed one sack all season and helped lead the Dallas Cowboys to an NFC East title.

Right tackle – Tristan Wirfs (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Tristan Wirfs takes the right tackle spot. Wirfs is an aggressive blocker, especially in the downhill running game. He brilliantly protected Tom Brady. Wirfs played the third-most snaps amongst right tackles while only surrendering two sacks. Furthermore, Wirfs allowed only 14 pressures throughout the regular season.


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